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Article

Aditya Johri

The impressions of others’ expertise are fundamental to workplace dynamics. Identifying expertise is essential for workplace functions such as task assignment, task…

Abstract

Purpose

The impressions of others’ expertise are fundamental to workplace dynamics. Identifying expertise is essential for workplace functions such as task assignment, task completion, and knowledge generation. Although prior work has examined both the nature of expertise and its importance for work, formation of expertise impressions in the workplace has not received much attention. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the author addresses the question – how do we form expertise impressions in the workplace – using data from an ethnographic study of a workplace setting. The author employs a case study of project team formation to synthesize a process framework of impression formation.

Findings

The author proposes a framework that integrates sociocultural and interactional accounts to argue that actors utilize situational and institutional frames to socially construct their expertise impressions of others. These frames emerge as actors engage in activities within a community of practice.

Originality/value

This practice-based explication of expertise construction moves beyond narrow conceptions of personality-based traits or credentials as signals of expertise. It explains why sharing of expertise within organizations through the use of information technology continues to be problematic – expertise is an enactment and therefore it defies reification through knowledge management.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article

Yew‐Jin Lee and Wolff‐Michael Roth

The purpose of this paper is to highlight some methodological problems concerning the neglect of participants' voices by workplace ethnographers and neglect of the highly…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight some methodological problems concerning the neglect of participants' voices by workplace ethnographers and neglect of the highly interactional and co‐constructive nature of research interviewing. The study aims to use discourse analysis, to show the phenomena of workplace learning and expertise to be constituted in participants' talk.

Design/methodology/approach

From excerpts of natural talk and research interviews by fish culturists speaking about their learning in a salmon hatchery, discourse analysis is used to analyze how workplace learning and expertise are rhetorically performed.

Findings

The paper finds that fish culturists drew on two discursive repertoires/resources – school‐ and workplace‐based learning – to account for their learning and expertise. The main participant affirmed the primacy of interest and practical workplace experience in his job just as he presupposed a weak correlation between school‐based (theoretical) and workplace (practical) knowing. However, both kinds of learning were deemed important though articulating this view depended on the social contexts of its production.

Research limitations/implications

Discourse analysis does not establish immutable truths about workplace learning and expertise but rather it is used to understand how these are made accountable through talk in real‐time, that is, how the phenomenon is “done” by participants.

Practical implications

There is increased sensitivity when using ethnographic and interview methods. No method can avoid being theory‐laden in its conduct and reporting but discourse analysis perhaps does it better than its alternatives.

Originality/value

While some contributors to this journal have also approached workplace learning from a discursive perspective, this paper attempts to understand the phenomenon solely from participants' categories and interpretations.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Book part

Sida Liu

Professionals often dislike dirty work, yet they accommodate or even embrace it in everyday practice. This chapter problematizes Andrew Abbott’s professional purity thesis…

Abstract

Professionals often dislike dirty work, yet they accommodate or even embrace it in everyday practice. This chapter problematizes Andrew Abbott’s professional purity thesis by examining five major forms of impurities in professional work, namely impurity in expertise, impurity in jurisdictions, impurity in clients, impurity in organizations, and impurity in politics. These impurities complicate the relationship between purity and status as some impurities may enhance professional status while others may jeopardize it, especially when the social origins of professionals are rapidly diversifying and professional work is increasingly intertwined with the logics of market and bureaucracy. Taking impurities seriously can help the sociology of professions move beyond the idealistic image of an independent, disinterested professional detached from human emotions, turf battles, client influence, and organizational or political forces and towards a more pragmatic understanding of professional work, expertise, ethics and the nature of professionalism.

Details

Professional Work: Knowledge, Power and Social Inequalities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-210-9

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Article

Thomas J. Conlon

Informal learning's roots emerged from educational philosophers John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Mary Parker Follett to theorists Malcolm Knowles and other successive…

Abstract

Informal learning's roots emerged from educational philosophers John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Mary Parker Follett to theorists Malcolm Knowles and other successive researchers. This paper explores the background and definitions of informal learning and applications to the global workplace. Informal learning's challenges are applied to developing global professional competence, including theory, practice and policy implications. The paper argues that informal learning plays a considerable role in developing professional expertise in the workplace and private life, yet believes no current theoretical model exists to balance conflicts between the role of individual and organizational benefits in a global context.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 28 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

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Article

Yew‐Jin Lee and Wolff‐Michael Roth

Sociocultural learning theories, usually premised on participation in some community, explain workplace learning well up to a certain extent. The paper aims to extend…

Abstract

Purpose

Sociocultural learning theories, usually premised on participation in some community, explain workplace learning well up to a certain extent. The paper aims to extend beyond these and to account for learning in repetitive and mundane work environments from a dialectical perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a longitudinal ethnographic study of one salmon hatchery in Canada and the fish culturists that work there, theory (dialectics) is blended with empirical fieldwork (interview data, participant observation data, field notes). Codes that emerged were classified into categories that formed the basis for the tentative hypotheses.

Findings

Two assertions are proposed concerning learning from a dialectical perspective: the dialectic of doing (actions might seem repetitive but are in fact always different and productive in nature) and the dialectic of understanding and explaining (practical understanding develops dialectically with conceptual understanding when the latter is subjected to scrutiny). These can account for learning in places that at first sight are not conducive to change and transformation.

Research limitations/implications

Using the proposed framework, researchers/management can no longer get at individual learning independent of collective learning, which simultaneously is the effect and cause of individual learning. That is, individual and collective are inseparable ontologically.

Practical implications

The study suggests a need to rethink the nature and possibilities of learning in mundane work environments that are believed to be widespread.

Originality/value

Approaches workplace learning from a dialectical, hermeneutical perspective that is not widely appreciated. Affirms the dignity of workers.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article

Hugh Munby, Joan Versnel, Nancy L. Hutchinson, Peter Chin and Derek H. Berg

In the face of research that shows that workplace knowledge and learning are highly contextual, calls for the teaching of generalizable skills for the workplace have been…

Abstract

In the face of research that shows that workplace knowledge and learning are highly contextual, calls for the teaching of generalizable skills for the workplace have been widespread. While the authors reject the usefulness of teaching generalizable skills, they believe that there are commonalities in workplace knowledge that can be taught. These commonalities are related to metacognition rather than simple cognition, and the approach in this paper is to explore the potential of metacognitive instruction for workplace learning. Specifically, the concept of routines is used to develop an instructional theory derived from the inherent metacognitive functions of routines themselves. The paper draws upon contemporary cognitive theory and on recent research on workplace learning, and it builds on studies the authors have conducted on learning in the workplace and on the observation of routines at work.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article

Raija Hämäläinen, Bram De Wever, Kari Nissinen and Sebastiano Cincinnato

Research has shown that the problem-solving skills of adults with a vocational education and training (VET) background in technology-rich environments (TREs) are often…

Abstract

Purpose

Research has shown that the problem-solving skills of adults with a vocational education and training (VET) background in technology-rich environments (TREs) are often inadequate. However, some adults with a VET background do have sound problem-solving skills. The present study aims to provide insight into the socio-demographic, work-related and everyday life factors that are associated with a strong problem-solving performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The study builds on large-scale data of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and gives insight into VET adults (N = 12,929) with strong problem-solving skills in 11 European countries.

Findings

This study introduces new knowledge with respect to the socio-demographic, work-related and everyday life background factors that contribute to successful VET adults’ problem-solving skills. The findings of the authors illustrate that a continuous process of development including non-formal and informal activity, as well as learning taking place at work, is associated with strong performance in problem-solving skills in TRE.

Research limitations/implications

An important implication of this study is that this paper introduces novel knowledge for VET adults’ competences and can be used to support the development of VET adults’ problem-solving skills in TREs.

Originality/value

The study was conducted to explore new understanding about good problem-solvers in TREs with a VET background. The originality of the study derives from its focus on good problem-solvers in TREs related to a VET background. The findings can be used to create novel ways to enhance the development of VET adults’ problem-solving skills in TREs.

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Article

Young S. Lee

This study aims to investigate the characteristics of the physical work environment that are known and used in practice to promote creativity for innovative start-up…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the characteristics of the physical work environment that are known and used in practice to promote creativity for innovative start-up workplaces. The first part of the study identified these characteristics from a content and visual analysis, and examined the current state of implementation of these characteristics in the work environments of innovative start-up companies. The second part of the study examined criticalness and practicality of these characteristics in the workplace with a group of experts in the workplace design, evaluation and management.

Design/methodology/approach

A content and visual analysis for written and visual images was conducted to identify a comprehensive list of characteristics of the physical work environment critical to creativity of the workplace. With the seven characteristics identified, an instrument was developed and interviews were conducted to assess the physical work environments of 22 innovative start-up companies in Michigan. Following up the interviews, an expert group was formed with 26 professionals including architects, interior designers, facility managers and CEOs. A survey was conducted with them to understand the significance and implementation issues among the seven characteristics.

Findings

The most frequently incorporated characteristics in the innovative start-up companies in Michigan were spaces for idea generation, technology interface for collaboration and spaces for a short mental break or social hangout. The three most important physical work environmental characteristics for companies to produce creative, innovative ideas and products/services for growth and market competitiveness were balanced layout, technology interface for collaboration and spaces for idea generation.

Originality/value

The study provides a comprehensive framework to evaluate creative workplace regarding the physical environment. It also offers insights on the work environments of the innovative start-up companies for increased creativity and innovation performance in the workplace.

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Article

Jeremy Rickards and Carol Putnam

While the rationale for interventions in a workplace to enhance employee health are well documented, practitioners have difficulty making an economic case to justify the…

Abstract

Purpose

While the rationale for interventions in a workplace to enhance employee health are well documented, practitioners have difficulty making an economic case to justify the investment required and to demonstrate positive returns on that investment. This paper aims to present case study data from an ergonomics evaluation of a call centre to demonstrate a simple, four‐step pre‐intervention methodology which provides an accounting‐based justification for funding workplace health‐related projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Physical and ergonomic assessments of the workplace and employee interviews establish health risk factors. Two direct (discretionary) costs and five indirect (non‐discretionary) operational costs are evaluated. The capital investment to implement the proposed workplace changes is determined. Total net identified benefits are established and used to create accounting‐based financial metrics.

Findings

Application of the methodology to the case study found worker compensation insurance, absenteeism and overtime wages to be neutral. Costs to train new workers, lost call processing time and cost of lost employee productivity were significant, the latter representing two‐thirds of the value of all potential benefits.

Originality/value

The paper creates accounting‐based metrics to mitigate health and safety risk factors, while identifying the potential for productivity gains. Management is provided with a simple decision tool to justify an investment in workplace changes.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

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Article

Dirk De Clercq, Inam Ul Haq and Muhammad Umer Azeem

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how employees’ perceptions of workplace ostracism might reduce their job performance, as well as how the negative workplace

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how employees’ perceptions of workplace ostracism might reduce their job performance, as well as how the negative workplace ostracism–job performance relationship might be buffered by their self-efficacy. It also considers how this buffering role of self-efficacy might vary according to employees’ job level.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative data came from a survey of employees and their supervisors in Pakistani organizations.

Findings

Workplace ostracism relates negatively to job performance, but this relationship is weaker at higher levels of self-efficacy. The buffering role of self-efficacy is particularly strong among employees at higher job levels.

Practical implications

Organizations that cannot prevent some of their employees from feeling excluded by other members can counter the related threat of underperformance by promoting employees’ confidence in their own skills and competencies. This measure is particularly useful among higher-ranking employees.

Originality/value

This study provides a more complete understanding of the circumstances in which workplace ostracism is less likely to diminish employees’ job performance, by specifying the concurrent influences of workplace ostracism, self-efficacy and job level.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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